Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Flying update

I last wrote about my burgeoning career as a Microlight pilot in September and October 2009 when I announced that I'd finally been cleared to fly solo for the first time, and then went solo again a few weeks later.

There's not been much flying since then as the weather has been awful and I've had flu both of which have kept me on the ground. In fact I've not flown at all since October.

But that's all changed now.

Medway Raven Microlight
The big news is that I have bought my own Microlight aircraft, a Medway Microlights Raven, G-MWLB. She's (it's ?) a relatively basic 2-seater aircraft with a cruise speed of 45-50mph, a practical top speed of 70mph, a 20 litre fuel tank and so a practical range of 70 miles or so. But at least it's my own aircraft and I'm up there rather than down here.

In October I did a little bit of flying in the Raven (with the instructor accompanying me), then on Sunday I flew a couple more circuits before the instructor announced that he was getting out and leaving me to it! I was expecting to require much more conversion training onto the new aircraft so was very surprised to be "let out" on my own so early on.

But the instructors were confident in my abilities and by the end of Sunday I'd clocked up another 45 minutes of solo flying, but this time in my own aircraft.

On Monday the weather was good again (although flipping cold) so I was down the Microlight centre again, did some more solo circuits, takeoffs and landings, then the instructor sent me off to fly to Grafham water which is about 20 miles North of the airfield. It was great to actually fly somewhere different for once and to enjoy getting used to handling the aircraft, and of course to putting my navigation skills to the test by keeping on course and not getting lost on the way.

So after what seems like an interminable time I feel I'm actually over the "hump" of learning; I can fly more when I want to rather than when an instructor is available, and I can focus on polishing my skills. The landings still need some more finessing as the Raven flies much slower than the school aircraft and thus the landing approach is a lot steeper than I'm used to - but practice makes perfect.

And I'm up to a massive 3 hours 45 minutes of solo flight time now!



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